It was a big week.
Apple announced iPad mini and the fourth generation iPad.
Microsoft launched Windows 8, its Surface tablet and the first version of its SmartGlass initiative, while Google is preparing a new round of Nexus devices.
So, does Apple still lead the industry and how does this activity actually filter down to the day-to-day activities mobile game developers?
With the product leaks ahead of time, and the evolutionary nature of the devices, this is definitely not revolutionary news. The 4th gen iPad is likely to be the first iPad device I haven't purchased as a developer. I'm still on the fence about the iPad mini, but probably will get one just to be sure my games run on it.
That said, I think Apple is still far and away the leader in this space and everyone else is playing catch up.
Microsoft's tablets are interesting and if they prove to be successful could make an impact. Thus far the Nexus tablets from Google seem to be just another Android tablet - certainly one of the leading ones, but not really driving the market forward.
Oscar Clark has been a pioneer in online, mobile, and console social games services since 1998. He is also author of the book, Games As A Service – How Free To Play Design Can Make Better Games.
Personally, I think this [iPad mini] is a good and sensible product introduction as the smaller form factor clearly hits a specific niche, and fits into a jacket pocket or handbag. I'm not wowed by it however, as it doesn't have a retina display; which really surprises me.
I was also partly surprised by the higher price, but then Apple has always gone for quality rather than lower cost and if they priced it the same it might have set expectations of brand parity.
Personally, I was more impressed by the iPad 4 which seemed like a good update to the tablet and given that I didn't upgrade to an iPad 3 I must say I'm tempted.
Android tablets have yet to really hit the quality bar they need to take off - although the Nexus 7 and Asus Transformer are good steps in the right direction.
This is a simple question of the price elasticity of demand.
The demand for iPad is greater than the iPad's affordability; slice the price in half, and watch those iPad minis leap off of the shelves. Competing tablets will choke on Apple for years to come.
The only thing I focus on is making great apps for Apple devices, the other devices are insignificant for us until we start seeing other companies sell more units than the equivalent rank on iOS.
Android is a non-player, so Google's announcement will not really change anything. Microsoft has something interesting but fragmenting Surface into Intel and ARM versions will end up confusing customers and prevent them from making the huge splash they need to compete with Apple.
In terms of being revolutionary, we are at a point in hardware where it's hard to give people the same amount of surprise they had when they first tried touch input, GPS or the accelerometer. There just simply isn't anything else on the near horizon that can make that kind of impact.
Maybe NFC when it's supported more fully and Apple decides to implement it. Wii-U should be experimenting with how toys with NFC can interact with games. I would love for our customers to use toys to play our games.
Welcome iPad mini and thanks for expanding the market. But let's talk about the big thing in the announcements: iPad 4.
This device 100 percent reinforces how rapidly the processing power trajectory is growing on smartphones and tablets. Every generation of iPhones has effectively doubled in processing power. Tablets are likely to grow faster because of lesser constraints around battery, heat and size.
Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4 will start hitting the mainstream around first quarter of 2014. By then we'll have an iPad 6, which will be at least 4 times more powerful than iPad 4 and will easily eclipse Xbox 360 on CPU and GPU performance.
Mobile developer revenues have already grown 15 fold in just over a year (Storm8 reporting $1 million/month in June 2011 vs. Supercell with $15 million in September 2012). This will probably grow another ten-fold by 2014.
Is there still someone who doesn't think tablets are going to utterly cannibalise the next console generation?
John is co-founder of PR and marketing company Big Ideas Machine. Also an all-round nice guy...
Is the iPad mini revolutionary? No. But it's a smart - and essential - defensive move, as the only inroads into Apple's dominance in the tablet space has been through a smaller form factor, and Apple has just killed that off (and ruined Google's new Nexus announcement into the bargain).
It'll be interesting to see the sales - I saw that Apple's share price dipped on the announcement, but since when have the analysts actually been right about Apple?
What is smart is that Apple has only changed the form factor - in every other way, it's an iPad 2. That means that all content and games will work perfectly - unlike on the Nexus 7. Apple doesn't have anything like the fragmentation problem Android has.
This keynote said something very powerful - Apple still give a fuck about products. Bonding a display directly to glass to save 2mm depth on a desktop machine? Dell isn't going to do it.
This is the strongest we've seen Apple post-Jobs. Tim [Cook] owned that stage.
Everyone's looking to every Apple product announcement to be disruptive, then beat them with a shitty stick if it's not the messiah. We won't get a product creating new markets every six months - we didn't with Jobs and we won't now.
If Microsoft is going to matter in the space it won't be yet - it's as late as ever. Google can battle on price, but not quality. It's the Aldi [European budget grocer] of the mobile space.
FYI: The Windows Store (part of the W8 OS) offers a 80/20 split when apps sell over $25,000. Upto $25,000, it's 70/30. Note, it's also a native code runtime so C++ ports/builds are fine.
What about certification costs?
Also, last time we checked, we were forced to go through a publisher because we weren't planning publishing a certain minimum number of apps. That publisher arrangement takes a lot more than that extra 10 percent that Microsoft is giving out.
My understanding is you can self-publish on Windows Phone 8, but if you want to use any Xbox Live features, i.e. multiplayer, leaderboards, achievements etc, then you must go through a publisher. That alone doesn't exactly encourage self-publishing from developers.
The iPad mini, on the other hand looks fab. The resolution is fine, and the size is great - better, in my opinion, than both the iPad (too big/heavy) and iPhone (too small) for long play periods.
The price is only £20 more than the base iPod touch - so I can't see this being a problem.
It's not only the Xbox Live features. It's impossible to get a decent rank unless you are listed as an Xbox Live app.
Currently we are #5 in the US on Windows Phone 7 and we don't earn enough revenue to justify updating our app especially since we are forced to split revenue with a thirdparty. It's also a little silly to continue to force the developer of your #5 app to go through a publisher.
It shows that Microsoft just doesn't get it. It doesn't get as much attention because it's not a major player but the approval process made the worst review cycle at Apple look like a dream.
Kyu has been at GAMEVIL since the beginning in 2000 and has constantly played a key role in the evolution of Korean mobile gaming, continuously introducing innovation to the world.
Kyu graduated from Seoul National University with a BS in Physics and is currently on the board of advisory at GDC Mobile.
Personally, I think that the 7-inch market is a much more attractive market than the 10-inch market, based on my experiences with the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7. Although not revolutionary, it is a market that Apple has to be in to keep the leading position in the tablet space.
I'm still not sold on Microsoft devices until I actually see them sold, but it'll probably be one of their last chances to make some dent. Maybe we'll see Android games running on their devices too.
But to answer your last question, I'm just happy that all the billion dollar companies are killing the PC market to make it all mobile.